The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0554 Thursday, 24 March 2005
Date: Thursday, 24 Mar 2005 03:42:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0543 Lear: Macready or Kean?
Comment: Re: SHK 16.0543 Lear: Macready or Kean?
I sent this question to an actor friend in England who has a three part
one-man show on Edmund Kean, to be seen at the Edinburgh Festival 2005.
Was Keane Jewish?
No proof but possibly - he was Anglo-Irish. His father Edmund Kean was
an Irishman, and his mother Nance Carey was the daughter of George
Saville Carey - Anglo-(Irish?).
However - his uncles were named Moses and Eamon or some other
Irish/Jewish sounding name - and his father obviously Edmund so there is
He may well have pronounced his name Kane - Irish pronunciation but
obviously could come from Cain as in Abel.
He chose Shylock as his first role and remained one of his best
throughout his career, he also ended up attached to an Irish Jewess name
Ophelia Benjamin - so maybe he was an Irish Jew himself. He certainly
consorted with at least two Jewish pugilists - Belascoe and Mendoza.
He was known for his olive complexion, dark curly hair and black eyes.
There's a case to be made but no proof - and as I understand it when he
got married it was a Christian affair, his son was buried with Christian
rites, and he certainly never publicised any Jewishness.
That's as much as I know.
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